NCR Does Not Mean Innocent

CFJC Commentators Doug Collins and James Peters

The rules regarding those found not criminally responsible for their crimes have to be changed. A man involved in a car crash in Vancouver last December has been released from detention, free to do whatever he wishes, after being found not criminally responsible for the crash. In that crash, the man carjacked a vehicle, then ran it into a building, causing injury to a girl inside the vehicle at the time. The Review Board says the man stopped taking his meds before the crash and was experiencing emotional distress. Somehow that’s supposed to excuse his behavior?

The rules are simply wrong. While a man may not be criminally responsible, surely that doesn’t mean he can get away with a serious offense. We have others in the same boat who committed murder and are also open to release when their next hearings come up. While we rely on these review boards to make judgments in these cases, one must question whether or not the rules are tough enough to ensure that people are detained for their behavior, no matter what causes it.

I understand it’s one thing when you understand your actions and commit a crime, and another when you don’t understand. But what’s to stop this man from going off his medication again and committing another act? The review says this man is still a threat, and is under several conditions as part of his release. Do you honestly think he would understand those conditions if he again went off medication? That’s absolutely stupid.

I don’t want to preclude people from being freed when they’re ready, but how can you say anyone can be ready under these circumstances? The laws are wrong, and it’s time someone took the lead in doing something to make them stronger. Maybe these people aren’t criminally responsible, but they’re certainly responsible. And certainly they should get more than just a slap on the wrist and let back out into society.